THE final Old Firm match of the season will take place on 29 April, two games after the Clydesdale Bank Premier League split, while Hibs’ and Dunfermline’s potential relegation decider will be the penultimate game of the season – played on a Monday night at Easter Road on 7 May.
Celtic will host Rangers on the Sunday with a 12.45pm kick-off after playing Motherwell at Fir Park the previous weekend, the SPL confirmed yesterday.
They need just a point to clinch the title, and can secure that at Kilmarnock this weekend in the final match before the league splits in two.
St Johnstone are the team to miss out on their fair share of home games having qualified for the top six for the first time since returning to the top flight.
Saints will have played 16 home games after Saturday’s visit of Inverness and have only two more at McDiarmid Park – against Dundee United and Rangers. That means a third visit to Fir Park this season for Saints, who are five points behind third-placed Motherwell.
Every other team will have 19 home and away games apart from Kilmarnock, who get an extra match at Rugby Park after slipping out of the top six this season.
The European battle culminates with Motherwell facing Dundee United at Fir Park on May 13, while Saints host Rangers and Hearts travel to Celtic Park.
Before Hibs entertain Dunfermline – who they currently lead by six points – they face Kilmarnock at home and both St Mirren and Aberdeen away before then, after hosting Motherwell on Sunday. Dunfermline, who play Hearts on Saturday, then face St Mirren away, Aberdeen at home and Inverness away. Their final match is at home to Kilmarnock while Hibs are at Inverness, having won there twice already this term.
St Johnstone also face a third match at Celtic Park but host Rangers and Dundee United for a third time.
SPL secretary Iain Blair said it was “simply impossible” to ensure 19 home games for all clubs.
Blair said: “Various versions of the round 34-38 fixture list are produced and we then select the one that provides the best fit overall. In line with previous seasons, all clubs will finish the season either home/away or away/home. We try to achieve as balanced a fixture list as possible.” The fixtures have also thrown up a Thursday night fixture during the midweek round with Celtic hosting St Johnstone on 3 May, 24 hours after Rangers play Dundee United at Ibrox. “In the regular season, Celtic/Rangers and Hearts/Hibernian always play at home on alternate weekends but, given the many constraints when compiling the post-split fixtures, it is sometimes impossible to avoid a city clash,” Blair said. “With both Celtic and Rangers at home in the midweek of 2 May, it forced us to switch one game to the Thursday. Tuesday was ruled out due to the Old Firm game the previous Sunday.”
Blair revealed the Old Firm date was chosen following consultation with the clubs, the SPL and the police.
Post-split SPL fixtures
Saturday April 21
Hearts v Rangers – 3pm
St Johnstone v Dundee United – 12.30pm (ESPN)
Inverness CT v Aberdeen – 3pm
St Mirren v Dunfermline – 3pm
Sunday April 22
Motherwell v Celtic – 2pm (Sky Sports)
Hibernian v Kilmarnock – 3pm
Saturday April 28
Dundee United v Hearts – 12.30pm (ESPN)
Motherwell v St Johnstone – 3pm
Dunfermline v Aberdeen – 3pm
Kilmarnock v Inverness CT – 3pm
Sunday April 29
Celtic v Rangers – 12.45pm (Sky Sports)
St Mirren v Hibernian – 3.15pm (Sky Sports)
Tuesday May 1
Hearts v Motherwell – 7.45pm (Sky Sports)
Wednesday May 2
Rangers v Dundee United – 7.45pm (Sky Sports)
Aberdeen v Hibernian – 7.45pm
Inverness CT v Dunfermline – 7.45pm
Kilmarnock v St Mirren – 7.45pm
Thursday May 3
Celtic v St Johnstone – 7.45pm
Saturday May 5
Rangers v Motherwell – 12.45pm (Sky Sports)
Kilmarnock v Aberdeen – 3pm
St Mirren v Inverness CT – 3pm
Sunday May 6
Dundee United v Celtic – 12.45pm (Sky Sports)
Hearts v St Johnstone – 3pm
Monday May 7
Hibernian v Dunfermline – 7.45pm (ESPN)
Saturday May 12
Aberdeen v St Mirren – 3pm
Dunfermline v Kilmarnock – 3pm
Inverness CT v Hibernian – 3pm
Sunday May 13
Celtic v Hearts – 12.30pm (Sky Sports)
Motherwell v Dundee United – 12.30pm
St Johnstone v Rangers – 12.30pm